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Big Perm

My first job out of high school was a a receptionist for a large real
estate brokerage. I was actually hired by the office manager, and I
knew from the start that the partners didn’t approve of me — and I
knew it was because of my looks. It was the worst 5 months ever!
Aside from being being run by the three largest chauvinist pigs I
have ever met, they had all kinds of issues, including the inability
to actually pay their hourly employees on time. Our paychecks were
always several days (or a full week) late.

This was 1993 and the office only had one computer. As the resident
geek, I used it all the time because I actually knew what I was
doing, but the bosses were always paranoid about it and figured I
didn’t know what I was doing. The eldest said, “Your an 18 year old
girl, you can’t possibly know sh*t about computers.”

Because of the paycheck issue, some of the hourly employees
complained to the state employment board, so if they wanted to fire
us… it had to be for a darn good, well documented reason. Instead,
they just harassed up until we quit.

The beginning of the worst of it was one of the sons called me in to
his office, sat me down and said, “Okay, you really need to get that
bad perm fixed. I can’t stand looking at you.”

Bad perm? I have naturally curly hair!

So, he said, “Then go get it fixed.”

My response to him? “You pay me $4.25 and hour for 4 hours a day to
make and fetch your coffee, kiss your ass, lie to your wife, put up
with your late paychecks and constant demeaning behavior, and you
want me to fix something I was born with? As soon as you can cure you
can yourself of being an asshole, I’ll straighten my hair.”

For the first time since I’d met him, he didn’t say a word. The next
day, though, they moved my desk in to the back conference room to
answer the phones while the other PT receptionist, who just happened
to be nothing short of gorgeous, was promoted to full-time at the
front desk. Nobody was surprised by that.

Within a week, I’d found another, much better, job and when I told
them I was leaving, their response?

“Good.”

They won… they made me quit. It didn’t stop the complaint from the
labor board or the fines and trouble they received as a result,
though, so I was happy.

Oddly enough, now that I am my own business owner in the same town,
and our companies have the tendency to interact on occasion, I know
that bad perm boss is still the same jerk he was 17 years ago, and he
still only hires the young gorgeous and vapid to man his front desk.

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